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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  January 23, 2012 2:00pm-3:00pm PST

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shift from the legacy analysis to really the demand to talk about issues in this country. we have had this identity thing e. what religion is he? what gender? no. is he stealing our money or not? and i feel like we're getting closer and closer to that question. >> the real questions. >> are they stealing our money? i think they might be. that will do it for us. "hardball" is up right now. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews. down in tampa, florida. leading off tonight, fight night in florida. want to know what panic looks like? just watch mitt romney. here are some of the phrases
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he's been throwing at newt gingrich. resign resigned in disgrace, failed leader, left in shame. mitt can't sell himself so he's going after newt. two automated polls for florida's primary next week have shown a complete reversal. it's now newt on top. why? because the bases were voting in the ruling class. the winner in south carolina this saturday was the republican right wing. no one channels the anger, the hatred, and not just of barack obama, better than newt. the only way for mitt to catch newt is to match newt. he might also learn how to become a media basher. no one does it better. newt, will he do it again tonight? and you might have gotten the impression that president obama is a socialist. someone desperate to turn the u.s. into a bankrupt europe? tonight some of the myths about
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president obama. let me finish with the fact that down here in florida, it's not all the magic kingdom. don't forget you can watch the nbc news republican debate tonight on a special edition of "rock center." we start with fight night. it's got to be called that. chuck todd is the political director for nbc news and our chief white house correspondent. and howard fineman is a political analyst. it seems to me it comes down to one thing. mitt romney is going after newt gingrich personally. making who this guy is the central issue of his campaign. newt knows this better than anyone. newt will respond. what a night. >> it strikes me as a trap. because this is what newt gingrich does. he enjoys the verbal combat. what i'm surprised by the romney pivot, it's full on.
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make gingrich unsubpoenaable. whatever it takes to make him completely unacceptable. but they are not showing anything yet. maybe this is coming. maybe this is coming in a couple days. how to fix the mitt problem. there is a mitt problem there, or he wouldn't be losing to conservatives by a two to one margin. he wouldn't be seeing his leads collapse at a moment's notice. his leads have collapsed. the polls are over inflating the newt surge, but the campaign pollsters say this race is neck and neck. >> why don't the republican smart guys around mitt romney remember what jimmy carter tried to do to ronald reagan? they said you can't vote for ronald reagan. the public said, oh yeah? we're going to vote for him because we don't like you. >> there are a couple problems for mitt romney. one of them is he can't credibly attack newt gingrich from the right. now, joe scarborough can say newt gingrich isn't a real conservative.
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and that's damming coming from joe. but it won't work for mitt romney. that's u number one. number two. i just spent my day in sarasota, florida. the establishment republicans were as thick upon the ground as the e grets on the golf course. and they are saying if mitt romney goes down that road, it's not going to do mitt romney any good. i talked to a guy in sarasota. he's an established republican. he said if mitt romney tries to behave like newt gingrich, mitt romney will lose what i find attractive about him, which is he's the level-headed guy. he's going to lose that fight. so the problem romney has is he's faced with a choice. does he go after them that way or not? either way, he loses. >> the roughest political advice i got was don't get into a paying match with a skunk.
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it's helpful information. newt gingrich told a crowd in tampa he expected mitt romney to get desperate at the debate tonight. let's watch his pregame. >> if you have been campaigning for six years and you begin to see it slip away, you get desperate. and when you get desperate, you say almost anything. and i think tonight's debate he will probably stretch the barrier of almost anything. i have been memorizing old phrases like, there you go again. it's such bologna. now it's desperate bologna. that's the succession of this campaign. >> i'm going back to the fight game here. if romney attacks or throws the punch or newt reminds him he threw the punch, if he checks his swing tonight, it's easy. people always root for the
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person under attack. >> it it will be interesting. this is one they loved how newt responded to their attacks in iowa. newt grabbed it. he didn't handle it well. he didn't handle it well the first time. let's see what happens when we drop a meteor on had him. the second thing though is how does newt go forward in this a little bit that says, okay. on saturday night i thought he responded with an odd speech. it was not a victory speech. it was still somehow showing a grievance. showing the anger. >> i thought it was aimed at the states. >> he didn't act like a nominee. >> he still has to win florida. >> what i don't get on the romney people. they make the case that it's the long game. they are act figure they lose florida, it's a house of cards and the whole thing crumbles. >> isn't newt still trying to win the panhandle?
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the southern part of northern florida where people are much more likely to vote for him. >> it's not just the panhandle. it's partly that, but even among the establishment republicans i was talking to today, they can't stand barack obama on many levels. they want him out. even for moderate republicans, they are surprisingly fierce when talking to them on the street corner in florida. they want him out. they wish that mitt romney had the ability to fight the way newt gingrich does. the problem that mitt romney also has is yes, they are independent spending groups. but in a debate, you have to carry the argument yourself. newt gingrich relishes this. he's had 20 years of it on the floor. he's had 25 years of it in congress. mitt romney doesn't know how to do it very well. >> here's mitt romney getting aggressive last night. he called the former speaker of the house a failed leader.
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today he hit newt on multiple fronts. let's watch him in action. let's watch. >> in the case of the speaker, he's got some records which could represent an october surprise. saying that newt gingrich is a lobbyist is just a matter of fact. but if you're working for a company getting paid for a company through one of your entities and then you're speaking with congressman in a way to help that company, that's lobbying. i think as you look at the speaker's record over time, it's been erratic. he's gone from item to item in a way that's it highly erratic and does not suggest a stable, thoughtful course, which is normally associated with leadership. >> what do you make of that? what is he saying?
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>> one of his top people just the other day e-mailed me and said newt is crazy. that's the line. >> i just heard it through my ear. newt gingrich is going to release his freddie mac contract. this big demand for the paper load. >> and he released his tax returns, which are interesting by the way. >> a lot of his business is in tax stuff. >> it's not clean, but he puts the pressure on mitt romney. this kind of ball game, whatever else you think about newt, he's a master at it. >> romney comes across as a calm, sweatless, in charge executive. if newt can drag him into a mud fight, who wins? >> this is what happened four years ago. mitt romney came to florida. desperate to stop john mccain. he threw everything at him. and john mccain every time --
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john mccain just swat ted him away. like a lion would swat away a fly coming after him. >> here's the ad. look at this. here's mitt romney's newest ad. it's not him. it's the paid ad. but it is his own campaign's ad. going after the ties to freddie mac. let's watch. >> while florida families lost everything in the housing crisis, newt gingrich catched in. gingrich was paid over $1.6 million by the agency that helped create the crisis. >> i offered advice. >> an historian? really? sanctioned for ethics, he resigned from congress in disgrace. if newt wins, this guy would be very happy. >> this is ultimate fighting. >> that's their best argument. that's the romney's campaign. it's not that newt isn't a conservative. >> they are calling him a crook.
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>> they very cleverly cut in the fact he had the ethics violation and left congress with fannie mae and freddie mac. >> okay. >> that can cut down here. >> it can because of the foreclosure. but again, it doesn't deal with the romney problem. and ultimately, that's the issue. he has a message problem. >> who do you want fighting obama? chuck todd and howard fineman, thank you. you can watch the debate tonight at 9:00 eastern with brian williams. the big fight on nbc. coming up, the base is revolting. no one channels the right wing's hatred not just of barack obama better and that's ahead. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. with no vegetable nutrition? ♪ [ gong ] strawberry banana! [ male announcer ] for a smoothie with real fruit plus veggie nutrition new v8 v-fusion smoothie.
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a muslim. listen to the question and then santorum's answer. >> he is an e vowed muslim. why isn't something being done to get him out of that government? he has no legal right to be calling himself president. >> well, i'm doing my best to try to get him out of the government. and you're right about how he uniformly ignores the constitution. he did this with these appointments over the cold recess, that was not a recess. and if i was in the united states senate, i would be drawing the line. >> an e vowed muslim. no correction from rick santorum. the former senator told reporters afterwards it's not his job to correct people who
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say things he doesn't agree with. the reporters who asked about were playing gotcha. telling the truth and correcting people is not a matter of opinion or agreement. this is below the normal moral behavior of rick santorum. he should have corrected him on the the spot. he normally would have. we'll be right back. but if you take away the faces on the trees... take away the pixie dust. take away the singing animals, and the storybook narrator... [ man ] you're left with more electric trucks. more recycled shipping materials... and a growing number of lower emissions planes... which still makes for a pretty enchanted tale. ♪ la la la [ man ] whoops, forgot one... [ male announcer ] sustainable solutions. fedex. solutions that matter. c'mon, michael! get in the game! [ male announcer ] don't have the hops for hoops with your buddies? lost your appetite for romance? and your mood is on its way down. you might not just be getting older.
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i think they sent two me messages, which i which the national establishment could pick up. the first is real pain. there's tremendous unemployment. people really are hurting. the second though, which i think nobody in gets, is the level of anger at the national establishment. >> he's got that right. welcome back to "hardball." the base of the republican party is in revolt. no one is channelling it better than newt gingrich. you heard him there. the trend line that tracks polling shows that since
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december 1st, newt gingrich has surged with republican voters here in florida. he slipped for a few weeks, but polls taken just this weekend have gingrich ahead now in this primary coming up next week. he's pulled into a tie now. can gingrich ride the wave of angry to a victory in florida? overall, the congressman john mike supports mitt romney. let me give you both equal time. bill mccollum. i heard you have a great organization. you're putting it at the disposal of newt gingrich. >> we have a great state organization. it's really his. it's a grass roots organization. we have many coalition groups. this is ground swell support, mainly because people see newt as the one most able to
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articulate the conservative positions and will be able to win in the fall election against president obama. he's crisper, more concise, he has a vision. he has the knowledge. you're seeing that demonstrated. >> why is he calling the president the food stamp president? >> he's trying to make the point about welfare reform. remember back in our days? >> you don't think that's racial? >> no. >> you don't agree on that? >> i think that's a leftover message. >> for them? >> i think today things have changed a lot. the bottom line is people on food stamps in florida have nothing to do with race. we have a lot of people hurting in this state. his spoint we need to give people a handup and not a handout. that's something republicans believe deeply. it stings to the bottom line. newt is hitting the core issue of what we do in the future. what's the difference between republicans and democrats? especially about the economy.
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>> newt gingrich and mitt romney is that kind of talk. let me go to the congressman. they don't talk about that red meat stuff. the excitement among working-class whites. these guys are living off the state and i'm working hard. it's the symbolism. mitt won't talk in that angry talk of the ticked off voter. is that going to stop him from winning? >> i think, you know, this political banter and the charges. last week mr. gingrich became the recipient of some of the anger of the american people. it was really, i think, part of the media going overboard in his case. he benefitted by it. we have seen these media bumps in the past, but i think when florida settles down and votes,
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and it's quite different. there are people from around the country. they want someone who is solid and who can address their issues. who also has had business experience. and also elected executive experience that makes a difference in their life. >> i think the difference in the way you talk explains this race so far. here's peter alexander asking mitt romney if he's done a good enough job of channelling the anger that it feels right now? here's romney's answer. >> something mike huckabee said was interesting. i'm a conservative. but i'm not angry at anybody about it. i don't think it's the party of anger. we're upset with the president. he's taken the country in the wrong direction. but we want someone who can lead our party. >> i'm not sure what mike huckabee made that kind of comment, but anger is in the streets of this country. not just in the republican party. >> it isn't just anger.
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they are look iing for a bold leader. they know the economy is not going right. newt gingrich at the best economic plan of any of the candidates. he's strong on national security. he has a long background of knowledge. he can talk the talk. he knows how to take it to the debate. that's what the people like. that's what the conservative base likes. they want someone who is confident that can take it to president obama. >> what will he in the debate that mitt romney won't do? >> he will be sharp and crisper. let's take obama care. romney care is the model for obama care. he has one arm behind his back. he supported that. they have real problems in massachusetts now. higher insurance premiums. also kinds of problems. >> with newt, it's so good. it's always feeding time in the lion cage for him. he's always throwing the slabs of meat. the president being a socialist
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and trained. the clever language about food stamps. he never stops talking like that. and they love it. >> because it gets the points across. he's a good organizer. >> do you think the president is a socialist? >> i don't call him a socialist. he's way over the to the left. i say he's a european-style president. he would like to take us in the direction. what gingrich has is leadership skills, knowledge, and a vision. >> he's like churchill? >> he's closer to maggie. >> this is the language. mica, your candidate will not talk to the street saying he's not as socialist, but he's farther to the left. does that mean he's like maggie thatcher? or winston churchill? or one of the stranger europeans? he's on the right too?
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what are they talking about when they say he's european? >> i think americans have had enough of people who try to insight with rhetoric and all of this stuff going on. and then we have had the other side of the coin. people who just don't seem to understand that what we need is a uniter and not a divider. the most important thing, and this is the thing for floridians. we have 10% unemployment. i have 14%. when all this mishmash is over, we need somebody who has business experience. somebody who has a personal life that's a good example. and who has led as an executive. we have a guy that was a community organizer. he won the american idol contest. he can sing, but he can't lead. we have had that.
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we need a leader. >> okay. thank you. you heard the shot about the personal life. >> i think there are european leaders way over to the left. >> wouldn't you say newt gingrich's personal life is more european than obama's? i would. thank you both. you're both gentlemen. you're great members of congress. i have seen you guys over the years. i love this debate. up next, newt gingrich is also a professional bachelor of us. the media. he's going to do it again tonight. you're watching "hardball." [ female announcer ] experience dual-action power,
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there's surely a chapter on newt gingrich's debate performances in south carolina last week. we have a big tonight moderated by brian williams. all eyes will be on the former speaker. can he keep up his momentum? what can we expect from his rival mitt romney? here to help us is one who already was the moderator in a debate. newt gingrich uses debates for a new thing. it's not nixon versus kennedy. sometimes it's newt versus the moderator. you never know what to expect. joining us is david gregory. >> you had the debate where he went after the question about his ex-wife. so that novelty is going to wear off. this is what gingrich does. it's a game. i think he knows how to restrain himself too.
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the risk here is that romney is going to come out too hot. gingrich is going to be like bush was in 2000 when gore walked up to him and shot him a look. >> he won the election with that. >> who is most comfortable in their skin? it's going to be a battle of that. gingrich is waiting to go after the media elite. i think it's important for us to remember, as hard as this is, this is not about us. this is not about us. this is what he does. this is not an argument on the merits. >> let's watch him do it in the last debate. >> i think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder it govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for office, and i'm appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that. >> as you noted, mr. speaker, this story did not come from our network.
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it's the subject of the campaign. >> john, it was repeated by your network. you chose to start the debate with it. don't try to blame somebody else. >> you know, just in terms of get off the media for a second. he took what we call a laminant and turned it into a lemonade. he turned it into a brilliant assault on the establishment in front of a republican audience. >> you walk into that room as a member of the media. if you're going to pick a fight, you have to be willing to follow it through. you're not going to win the crowd. you can't play to the crowd. the reality is, newt gingrich has said to me and others, these are fair questions. and when i questioned him about it yesterday, i made that part of the predicate. so the reality is, there was a new wrinkle there. what was the answer to the question? he got to the answer there after he wanted to make his point. but gingrich may try to do that. use the media as a foil. but that's the undercard here tonight. i think that got a big splash.
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tonight is about how he engages romney and how romney decides to come at him. >> you have to watch this as a moderate. it will be our business after we watch it. romney has to go on the attack. he's been on the attack for 48 hours. he can't pull back or he'll be accused of pulling a tim pawlenty. >> i think the moderator's job, and brian williams is more experienced at it than me, but his job is to get out of the way and create a situation where you're asking pointed questions to allow them to engage each other. we were talking during the break. you have these time limits. it's so crazy with the lights going off and what does yellow and red mean. the reality is they have been doing this a lot already. let them go. let them play. >> you probably have an executive producer saying ignore the lights. thank you, david gregory. it could be a great night.
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tonight at 9:00 eastern. i keep promoting it because if you don't watch this, you're missing a big part of the republican side of the fight to see who fights obama. this is a warm-up for what's going to come in november. up next, if you listen to republicans, you might think president obama is some kind of socialist. some saying he has european thinking. we're going to debunk some of that enduring myths about the president when we come back. it's going to be interesting. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. [ male announcer ] you are a business pro. lord of the carry-on. sovereign of the security line. you never take an upgrade for granted. and you rent from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle. and go. you can even take a full-size or above. and still pay the mid-size price. i deserve this. [ male announcer ] you do, business pro. you do. go national. go like a pro.
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good evening. here's your cnbc market wrap. the dow is off by 11 points. the s&p 500 up less than a point. the nasdaq was down 2. after the closing bell, texas
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instruments reported earnings and revenue that beat expectations. the company plans to close two older manufacturering facilities. one of them in the united states. it employs 500 people. management change at the top of research in motion. not unexpected, but not helping the stock price. the blackberry's maker stepped down over the weekend. they will be replaced by the chief operating officer. they suffered many setbacks as of recent. and halliburton forced to switch gears and focus on profitable oil services business. that announcement had investors overlooking the company's better than expected profit support. shares down 2%. that will do it from cnbc. now back to "hardball."
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we're back. president obama is gearing up to make the state of the union address tomorrow night. we wanted to examine some of the tall tales. the republicans have been pushing these over the last three years. a ground-breaking piece was written over the weekend taking issue with those myths. joining us is white house reporter joe williams and david korn. i want to start with david. let's look at the socialist charge. john's piece points out that tarp began under president bush. he goes on to write that obama's policies have not even been close to being socialist. "obama rejected nationalizing banks and made clear he had no interest in running the auto companies. the health care reform law keeps insurance in private hands and adopts the individual mandate option from the heritage foundation and is modelled on
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former governor romney's massachusetts reform. not exactly a plot as he put it. finally, the dodd frank reform bill, which obama signed into law in 2010, regulates wall street but it hardly controls it." i hold the president somewhat responsible. how he got the socialist tag thrown on this bill. i would say it's to the right of nixon's plan. this says the individual has to do it. >> you know, it's been an absurd charge from the very beginning that he's a socialist. there's nothing he's done that the least bit socialistic. but you still hear it. newt gingrich out there saying he wants to turn america into a socialistic european-style secular state. you hear mitt romney saying a little more milder than that, turning it into a social welfare
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state, which sounds like socialism. i think the president needs to get out there and advocate for his own programs more strongly than he has, but he shouldn't be out there worrying about defending himself on a charge like this. it's not even a dog whistle. it's a bull horn. you can't reason with them. this is crazy stuff. >> let's go to joe. i hear socialist. i hear europe. it seems all are trying to make him different. not just an american guy, but some kind of different person. we can't argue about the role of government. that being called foreign? that's what's going on here, i think. >> that's exactly right. you put your finger on it. not only are they charges designed to make the president, who looks unlike any president we have ever seen, which is part
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of the problem. it's so freaked out people on the right they grasp at other things to make him seem like he's the other. that's where the european charge comes in. that's where you heard it today in santorum's event. a woman declare that the president was a kenyaen-born muslim. the truth gets out there and it doesn't stick. he released the birth certificate. three years ago, we were complaining about his affiliation with a christian reverend who had problems with america. that contradicts the notion he might have some other religious identity. but the problem that the white house faces here is a communications one. if they don't refute these things fast and firmly, allegations which they see as silly, they have a tendency to stick. >> i think that is being aloofed. contrary to popular belief, john makes the case that president obama has not been an effective
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speaker. "there are few examples of obama's speeches moving popular opinion. he speaks in impressive paragraphs and not memorable sentences. he's allergic to sound bytes, and that keeps him from framing his goals and achievements." i agree. i think for a guy who is poetic in his presentation, knows the language than most people on the planet, and doesn't make the points he needs to punch back with. >> winning the future didn't do it for you, chris? >> i don't disagree with johnathan's point. but we live in a world where big speeches don't bring big movements. people are watching the channels they watch. they are getting the news they want. we don't have the experience any longer with our leaders. before the debt ceiling episode was over, the president did give a speech. he asked people to call congress
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and demand a compromise. and the phone lines didn't light up for a day or two. so i think he's had some impact. but it's really hard in these times to move the needle. what moves the needle now is what he's done since the jobs speech, which is to get out there and fight day in and day out for his program and show people he's ready to flow a few punches. >> his speeches were brilliant. he was capable of one-liners. i will never forget the speech he gave in 2002 when i first skovred him. only in this country is my story possible. what an amazing line. it's so pro-american. so much to the heart of our nature. barack obama. president of the united states. no other country would make that decision. >> the skinny kid with the big ears and the funny name he also
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put it. this is one of the things he has to hammer home. his truly un-american story. what david said is very true. people who don't believe it aren't going to. that's a tough road for them to hold. that segment of the population tends to affect the other. you have this granular truth. that comes put. that's a communications issue. it speaks to the fact that you campaign in poetry and govern in pros. a lot of times, the speech in kansas moved a lot of people. it got a lot of inspiration going on the left. there is room for that. whether or not the president thinks this is something he needs to do or is drawing away from his seriousness of his presidency, i think he's got to make his mind up and his communications has to make up their mind as well. >> he better be paying attention to newt gingrich. if he gets all the way, he knows how to use two words to make
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points. food stamps. thank you, david and joe. not the nicest words in the world, but he knows how to use them. next, will the real mitt romney please stand up? we're going to go to a couple reporters that just wrote a book about the guy. let's find out who he is. he's fighting for his life politically. this is "hardball." [ woman ] my boyfriend and i were going on vacation, so i used my citi thank you card to pick up some accessories. a new belt. some nylons. and what girl wouldn't need new shoes? we talked about getting a diamond. but with all the thank you points i've been earning... ♪ ...i flew us to the rock i really had in mind.
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welcome back to "hardball." mitt romney has been running for president now for years, but with the resistance to get into his financial success, he's unknowable. who is this man? why is he running for president? that's a darn good question. scott hellman has coauthored the book "the real romney." i want to read something from the book. it's something that was said following his defeat to ted kennedy back in 1994. there was a looming question over dinner one night after that race. "one couldn't sum up in a
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sentence why he had run. after all the weeks and months of that campaign if. you ask why did mitt romney run for senate and what did he stand for? most people had no clue. romney was saying, we didn't do a good job of getting the message across." why is he running? >> well, chris, even in 2008 after that campaign, there's a chapter of the book and the conclusion of that chapter has mitt saying sort of the same thing. he didn't do a good job getting his message out. running for president, clearly romney's message believes a business-centered country that has fewer regulations. that's what he believes in. he believes government should be stripped away to some degree. that's why he's run ining from s point of view. he's also running to fulfill a legacy. he believes he needs to pick up where his father failed back in 1968, when his campaign was
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exploded. and mitt romney feels a great sense of obligation to see that through and has long seen this as his path. as you mentioned, he's often looked ahead to see how do i get to where i can win? some people said he lacks perhaps showing to where he wants to be. >> let me go back to scott on this. i've just rt the economist this week. said that romney lacks conviction, passion and instinct. that's sort of the ball game. you don't have passion, conviction and instinct, is that a fair shot? doesn't sound like he has any of the tickets. >> yeah, i think it's a fair criticism and something he's faced throughout, going back to the kennedy race in '94. he had a completely different political definition then than he does now. and i think he has moved around a lot. i think that goes to the heart of why people don't trust him. as one republican said during the kennedy race, his main cause
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appeared to be himself. he never got beyond that and gave a sort of -- for his campaign. you are seeing the same thing now. >> let me ask you about this whole question of money. he seems to be very nervous, almost giddily weird. he says maybe i'll release these. he's finally getting around to maybe releasing his tax returns for 2011 a0 and an estimate for 2011. >> this is an issue that goes back 18 years. back in the kennedy lirks challenged ted kennedy to release his tax returns and said what have you got to return? and kennedy did not. romney said if you'll show yours, i'll show mine and neither did release their returns. it's an issue he's been dealing with for many years. and you mentioned the moment where he said in that debate maybe in response to whether he'd release his returns. >> yeah. >> that's pretty much the last word you'd want to use if people have questions about where are
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your core convictions. you want to show absolute certainty. and he said yesterday this was a mistake and now will release a year of returns and an estimate of last year. it won't answer all the questions, obviously, when he was at bain capital. that goes way back '84 to '99. if we don't see those tax returns then there will still be questions about that. if he is the nominee in the general election, you can be sure the democrats will say what about those tax returns when you were at bain capital. >> yeah, scott is there something in his background, maybe not his lds religion but something that would never allow him to be anti-establishment. even on the debate stage to never try to -- newt gingrich for being crazy bring the house down guy. he seems like he can't be anti-establishment, mitt romney. >> he's always been an institutionalist. one of the fascinating things from his past as you look at the anti-war era. he was coming of age as a young adult. and, in fact, there's a great picture in the book of him
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protesting the protesters at stanford. he was somebody who was appalled by counterculture. he was -- you're right. he's about as far from a sort of bomb-throwing anti-establishment person as you can get. and his trick tonight in going on to florida is to find a way to sort of go after newt but to not make it look like he's putting on too much of a costume because it's not him. as david gregory said, he's got to look like he's comfortable in his skin or the whole thing comes across as phony. >> this is a little humorous, but i notice the way he dresses politically. he wears those mom jeans they were called on "saturday night live." it's very formal, the whole thing. even rolls his sleeves up in an odd way. doesn't roll them up the way most. he doesn't seem to open up his shirt collar. it seems to stick together somehow. the guy is so physical lly constricted. is he ready for this business of politics at this level? >> chris christie said yesterday on "meet the press" that romney is very reserved, quote/unquote.
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obviously, there's a little disconnect. if you are running for president, you are also very reserved, that is difficult. there's an anecdote in the book in the last campaign where the florida advisers wanted him to ditch the suit and tie. if you are going into a retirement community in florida you need to look more relaxed. at that time they responded that would look unpresidential. this time around they've tried to take that advice but then it leads to criticisms like you just raised he looks like he's trying too hard. he's certainly more at home in the suit and tie. >> that's fair enough. just doesn't click with the way things are. great book, i'm sure. i'm going to read this thing. "the real romney." thank you, michael kranich and scott helman. when we return, let me finish with the grand reality in florida. it's not the magic kingdom, not the whole state. you're watching "hardball." nnou] don't have the hops for hoops with your buddies? lost your appetite for romance? and your mood is on its way down.
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let me finish tonight with this. we're heading into florida politically. get this straight. we're not going to disney world. what newt and mitt are entering now here in this state is the real world of 2012. the world of people's houses being below water level, being worth less than the mortgages they are paying every month. maybe in some cases at more than 5%. and one county here flagler, the average house price has plummeted from $260,000 to $120,000. think about that. get your head around those numbers. one day your house is worth more than $250,000. the next day down to about
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$100,000. and that's what you are worth now. well, think about the average retirement savings right now and where that stands compared to a few years ago. think about the outlook for your kids compared to the 1990s. down here, the unemployment rate is way above the national average. up around double digits. what does that do to the chances of launching yourself into the good life? what does that say about parents watching their children trying to make it wondering if they gave them the right start after all. so this ain't the magic kingdom. this sunshine state is the land of empty condos, mile after mile of them. once this stuff that middle class dreams were made of, now the empty hopes and failed properties of those who can't figure out how to unload them. no, it's not bad for everyone. there's still the big yachts that the republican high rollers are looking to dock here in tampa for the convention. we all feel for their inconvenience. their lack of a chance to lord it over those who get to walk past their parties. watch those on-board parties knowing they haven't gotten


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